Is an Accident Report Necessary?
We have said it before… Accidents happen. Cars go bump, branches hit houses, sometimes self-care rituals can go horribly wrong. These events are memorable, but the truth is we will not remember all the details needed in the event of an insurance claim or injury case. After all, Memories Fail. So how do we protect ourselves today, as well as in the future? Is an Accident Report Really Necessary?
Always Report an Accident
You are driving to the grocery store, minding your own business, when you feel an impact on your rear bumper. You look in your mirror and see the shocked eyes of the driver behind you who has unintentionally run into your car. This is not what you expected on your run to pick up some bread and milk.
You and the other driver signal to each other to pull off the road, and you get out to survey the damage. Your bumper only suffered a few scratches and a small dent. Nothing major – thank goodness! Their front bumper is a little worse off, with cracked paint and a big dent. They aren’t happy at all.
Visibly upset, the other driver is extremely apologetic and wants to make sure you were not hurt. “No, I’m okay”, you reply. You have a chat and learn that they were on their way to the hospital to visit a sick parent. They need to get there quickly and suggest exchanging personal information and not calling the police to file a formal report.
So, you go through some rational thinking… Is an Accident Report Really Necessary?
- I’m not in pain.
- They aren’t hurt.
- My car is relatively okay.
- I probably will not file a claim with my insurance.
- Their car really got the worst of it, and who am I to worry if they want to get on their merry way without a report?
There really isn’t anything to report, right?
Well, while that might be true, there is a chance that something might come up in the future that would revise that position. You might develop pain and symptoms of whiplash. They might place a claim with their insurance company which then chases you down and potentially suggests you were at fault. (Even though they hit you from behind!) Worse yet, they may be uninsured and attempting insurance fraud.
You cannot rely on your memory to provide you with all the details and information of that moment in time. Total Recall –the average person doesn’t have this… unless they own the 1990 sci-fi DVD, that is! Also, there is a statute of limitations to consider. That is not a window you want to miss.
This is where that police report comes in very handy. It captures all the details, contact information, comments, fault assessments, and more. Most importantly, it is completed by an impartial third party, the attending police officer. Should there ever be a need to file or dispute a claim, you have their report and findings.
But… does filing a report make you an uncaring person? Remember, that driver was heading to the hospital to see their sick parent. The answer is No. You are not mean, uncaring, or lacking empathy. In fact, by reporting your accident immediately you are looking out for the best interests of everyone involved. They too may not feel any pain at the moment but could develop future health complications that would benefit from an accurate, objective recollection of the accident.
Don’t fall victim to memory failure or fraud.
Protecting your health, safety, and finances should be at the top of your priority list. This includes ensuring that you know what to do when accidents happen.
Does this story sound a little too familiar? Contact the team at the Law Office of Adriana E Baudry. We are here to help.